Pursuant to my recent post, “Guns and God,” here are a few back of the envelope calculations to put the issue in perspective.
The US had approximately 40,000 gun-related deaths in 2017. That figure has been relatively consistent since 1968, the first year the CDC has online data.
Let’s put that in context. The USA lost 58,000 troops in the Vietnam War, most in the ten-year period between 1963 and 1972. In that same ten-year span, nearly 400,000 Americans died from gun-related deaths in the USA. That’s right, about 8 times as many Americans died from gun violence in the United States during that ten-year period as did American soldiers in the Vietnam War.
Or consider that the total USA combat death in ALL the wars the US has ever been in total about 667,000. That figure rises to about 1,500,000 if you include non-combat death. Thus, in the fifty-year period from 1968 to 2018 more Americans died in the USA from gun violence than died in all the was American has ever fought! Almost 2 million Americans have died from gun-related violence in the last 50 years.
In that same time guns haven’t saved anyone in the US from political tyrants. Why is that? Because guns don’t protect US citizens from the might of the US military or, perhaps even more importantly, from the huge data sets that enhance the sophisticated techniques of psychological manipulation/propaganda used by authoritarians to control their citizens.
There is of course much more to say about all this. But you are much, much more likely to die from either suicide or murder in the USA than in other developed countries. In fact, the rate of gun-related deaths in the USA is more than 100 times higher than in some countries:
(Gun-related deaths per 100,000 population for selected countries)
- Singapore 0.025 (that’s 2.5 per 10 million)
- Japan 0.06
- Iceland 0.07
- South Korea 0.08
- United Kingdom 0.23
- Kuwait 0.36
- Cuba 0.5
- Spain 0.62
- Germany 0.99
- Canada 2.0
- Mexico 7.64
- United States 12.21
- Colombia 20.38
Here’s another great way to look at this from an article in the New York Times:
|Being killed with a gun here:||Is about as likely as
dying of ________ in the U.S.
|Deaths per mil.|
|El Salvador||Heart attack||446.3|
|United States||Car accident*||31.2|
|Ireland||Drowning in a lake, river or ocean||4.8|
|Netherlands||Accidental gas poisoning||2.3|
|Germany||Contact with a thrown or falling object||2.1|
|Austria||Drowning in a swimming pool||1.9|
|Australia||Falling from a building or structure||1.7|
|Spain||Exposure to excessive natural heat||1.6|
|New Zealand||Falling from a ladder||1.5|
|England||Contact with agricultural machinery||0.9|
|Norway||Accidental hanging or strangulation||0.9|
|South Korea||Being crushed or pinched between objects||0.4|
Finally, if you want to see the more statistics displayed with great graphics see the following link from the Giffords Law Center has done a great job.